I don't really feel like running out new predictions right now. Maybe tomorrow. Instead, I thought I'd take a look at 2011, and then ahead at 2012, and set some goals.
Dean's written some amazing articles on goal setting. He's done similar articles before, but these just rock. Excellent reading, and very timely - hey, we're all looking ahead at the new year, right? Check them out:
2011 was a good year. I published three short stories and a novel. I met a ton of really amazing people, and learned a great deal. But it's time to push things to the next level. Now, I've got a lot of changes coming down the pipe. This is going to be a huge year, with a lot going on. So goals - real, achievable ones - are going to be critical.
1. Write more.
I have a brand new book; a little moleskin pocket sized planner. Aside from tracking dates and schedules in it (the obvious), it's going to be used to track my writing. When I write, how much I produce, what frame of mind I was in. I'm going to use that to figure out when and where my best times for writing are, and build a better schedule for getting more done. I'm going to track every new word of salable fiction and nonfiction, and I'm going to make sure there are a lot of them.
How many? I'm going to shoot for 366,000 words. (It's a leap year, 1000 per day.)
I've never even come close to that before. It'll be a huge challenge, from the perspective of history. But then again - since I write about 600-800 words in a 25 minute sprint, it's not really that much per day. In the back of my mind, of course, is the idea I might be able to exceed that, but life has a funny way of breaking in, so let's just keep it there for now.
Specifically, on the writing front, I plan to publish Ashes Ascendant, finish Dead In Winter, and publish that. Those will finish off the first three Blackwell Magic books. I also still plan to produce the serial fiction work. I got a great start on that in November, but need to re-examine how I can approach the genre. It was my first try, and there were a lot of flaws (primarily, because I wrote a novel instead of a serial!). I will also finish the rewrite of Accord of Honor - which my wife assures me needs a new title, so it might get one. ;) Science fiction in the not so distant future, this is a "lost book" of mine, or almost was anyway. The file was lost in a hard drive crash, but I had a paper copy, so I've been retyping it into the computer, rewriting as I went. The resulting story is not the same as the first one was - there are big chunks simply scrapped and rewritten - but it's much improved from the first attempt to tell the tale, and I'm very pleased with how it's coming.
I've also had a lot of requests for basically a "step by step guide" to the mechanical parts of self publishing. Where to upload. How, exactly, to convert. How to do a basic POD book. All the basics, all in one book. I know there's a few out there, but when I queried one LinkedIn group in a half joking post, I had a bunch of replies back saying yes, please do! So the outline is done on said book, and I'll be cranking it out this year.
2. Follow Heinlein's Rules.
A while back, Dean wrote a blog post where he mentioned the book those rules came from. It's a great little volume, "Of Worlds Beyond: the science of science fiction writing". I got a copy of the original 1947 edition for Christmas this year. It felt vaguely like getting a copy of the Gutenberg Bible. ;) I mean, this is THE BOOK. The source of the rules which spawned the careers of so many writers. And I was holding an original edition in my hands. How cool is that? I may love ebooks, but hey, some print books have value as a symbol beyond the actual words contained within the spine.
For those who don't recall, Heinlein's Rules are simple:
Heinlein's Rules for Writing
- You must write.
- You must finish what you write.
- You must refrain from rewriting, except to editorial order.
- You must put the work on the market.
- You must keep the work on the market until it is sold.
In this new age of publishing, those rules are still valid. Only the market has changed. The rules themselves are still as simple - and simply powerful - as ever. So I intend to follow those rules. I will write. I will finish each piece. I will rewrite based on editorial suggestion. I will get that work up for sale as soon as is possible, and keep it there so that it sells.
3. Business building.
I've begun formatting and editing for other writers. Doing ebook and print book formatting, and copy editing manuscripts. So far, I've had a bunch of really happy people, and I plan to continue working in this venue into the new year. I watch all the time as writers are caught by this or that questionable - even scammy - operation that sucks them for every cent it can. I feel firmly that hiring folks for basic one-time fees is the best way to go, and I put my money where my mouth is. I'm making those services available to writers at fees that are reasonable - complete with a free set of revisions, and phone-walkthrough assistance in the upload process if necessary. I'm enjoying the work, it's extra income I can certainly use, and it's helping writers become successful publishing their work. I don't intend to set a goal for how many of these I will do, but I will continue to make the services available so I can help writers achieve their own goals.
There's a lot to do. It's going to be an amazing year, in so many ways, for so many people! I look forward to the challenges ahead, and the work ahead, and the new experiences and things to learn. 2011 was remarkable.
2012 stands ready to be incredible!